Govt, Left parties buy time to meet again

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New Delhi, Jun 25 (UNI) The UPA-Left panel today ''completed'' its discussion on the Indo-US nuclear deal and agreed to finalise the ''findings in due course,'' buying more time to defuse the crisis on the issue that has threatened the survival of the Manmohan Singh government.

The ninth meeting of the panel completed its discussion on all aspects of the pact today, Panel convenor and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at the end of its about two hour meeting attended by all the high profile members, except Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who is out of the country.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, DMK leader T R Baalu and Left leaders-- Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Debabrat Biswas- were among others who attended the meeting.

However, a top Left leader told UNI that the government might still prefer to go to Vienna to talk to the Board of Directors of the IAEA to complete its pending business on the deal but the poll-wary allies have become the stumbling blocks.

''The government may go to the IAEA in another 10 days or one month,'' said the Left leader, who did not want to be identified.

CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said in today's meeting, the discussion was over and the next meeting could be held only to record the findings.

CPI national secretary Shamim Faizi claimed that now the Left had given the time to the government to readjust its priorities and concentrate more on containing inflation.

''It is obvious that the allies as well as outside supporters don't want imposition of early Lok Sabha elections. Now the government should immediately take radical steps on price front .

''The Left will not allow the government to go to the IAEA without first taking the nation into confidence on the frozen text with the international agency as well as the impact of the Hyde Act on the 123 Agreement,'' Mr Faizi said.

He also emphasised that the Prime Minister has to reconcile with the fact that the nation is not for the Deal and the international commitment could not overtake the national interest.

Mr Mukherjee read out a brief statement at the conclusion of the over 90-minute meeting, indicating that the two sides could not agree on a way out today and agreed to defer resolution of the issue that has snowballed into a showdown.

According to political sources, the next meeting of the panel, chaired by Mr Mukherjee, would now be held only after at least 10 days as the CPI(M) has convened its Polit Bureau meet on June 29. The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) will also hold a meeting to discuss the issue and other matters on July 3.

Mr Mukherjee was seated next to CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechuri, who read out the Hindi version of the statement.


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